Singapore’s Marina Bay: A Vision of the Future

Pool on the roof of Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore

Perched precariously on top of 3 identical towers, the boat shaped Sky Park on the roof of the Marina Bay Sands hotel adds a unique silhouette to the skyline of Singapore. Although there is a public observation deck at the bow of this great ship, most of the park is reserved exclusively for hotel guests. Along one side, the largest and highest infinity pool in the world offers bathers an unobstructed view across Marina Bay to the city beyond. A cluster of glass and steel skyscrapers clearly identifies the central business district in stark contrast to the green space and white colonial buildings visible around nearby Fort Canning Park. On the opposite side of the Sky Park you can soak in a jacuzzi while enjoying a refreshing cocktail and looking out over the hundreds of cargo ships assembled along the Strait of Singapore.

Marina Bay Sands at Night, Singapore

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Plate of chocolate and a cocktail at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Cheese & Chocolate Buffet

Marina Bay Sands

Club55 on the roof of Marina Bay Sands offers a cheese and chocolate buffet six nights a week. If these are two of your favourite food groups then you can't go far wrong, especially if you get one of the seats on the balcony overlooking Gardens by the Bay at night. Alas the average person's capacity for cheese and chocolate is nowhere near as great as most would hope so you should plan to arrive hungry. Although the variety of cheese on offer is impressive, it's the array of handcrafted chocolate desserts that really steals the show. With around 40 variations, it's virtually impossible to sample all of them, despite the best of intentions.

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands is an extensive shopping mall offering a range of luxury brands. The indoor canal where shoppers can take sampan cruises through the mall is certainly an unusual if not entirely unique concept. Unlike the Gondoliers plying the canals of the Venetian in Las Vegas, the sampan guides do not sing but whether this is good or bad depends entirely on your perspective. All of the sampan trips pass the Rain Oculus, a huge transparent bowl that doubles as a skylight two floors above the canal. When viewed from above, jets of water create impressive whirlpool effects as the water swirls around before it escapes through the hole at the centre. Lucky sampan passengers will get a front row seat as this deluge cascades into the pool below.

View of Marina Bay, ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands and financial district, Singapore

Marina Bay

The Highlights of Marina Bay

Along with Marina Bay Sands, there are several examples of original architecture around the bay. The huge curved 'petals' that form the lotus shaped ArtScience Museum would be quite at home on the set of a science fiction movie making it the perfect place to exhibit scientific triumphs and inspire the next generation of scientists.

The design of the neighbouring Double Helix Bridge was inspired by the structure of DNA and this spiralling steel walkway incorporates several viewpoints as it curves across the mouth of the bay. The football pitch at the edge of the bay, overlooked by colourful tiers of seating, is known as The Float. It's the world's largest floating stage providing a venue for a number of sporting and state events.

The nearby Merlion statue spouts a constant jet of water into the bay. This widely recognised mascot of Singapore was adopted by the Singapore tourist board in the 1960s. The Lion's head represents Singa, meaning 'lion' in Sanskrit. The mermaid's tail is a reminder of the small fishing village from which Singapore grew.

Gardens by the Bay

No visit to this part of Singapore would be complete without a stroll through the Gardens by the Bay. This park seamlessly blends nature, sculpture and architecture into one environmentally friendly experience.

The first thing most visitors will notice are the clusters of Supertrees that tower over the park. A lattice of steel forms the trunk covered in a living skin of orchids, ferns and other tropical plants. 16 storeys up this branches out into a purple and green canopy complete with solar panels that power various functions such as the beautiful lighting displays at night. They also collect the rainwater used for irrigation and fountain displays throughout the park. The Indochine restaurant nestled in the canopy of the largest Supertree serves exquisitely presented Asian fusion cuisine and the pork balls stuffed with lychees are highly recommended. Diners can enjoy panoramic views over the gardens or relax with a drink at the rooftop bar.

Silver Supertree Grove and ferris wheel, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Silver Supertree Grove

Cloud Forest Waterfall at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Cloud Forest Waterfall

The Supertree groves and the various outdoor plant and sculpture displays are free and are accessible from 5am-2am every day. There is an admission fee for both the conservatories and the OCBC Skyway, an elevated walkway suspended between the Supertrees.

In an equatorial country with consistent temperatures year round, the two huge greenhouses may come as a surprise, however here they are used to keep imported plants cool. The main feature of the Cloud Forest Dome is the huge waterfall which thunders down one side of a 35m high artificial mountain. A network of paths and walkways weaves around and through the mountain allowing you a close up view of rare plants usually found more than 2000 meters above sea level. Be sure to look for the carnivorous pitcher plants and Venus flytraps in the Lost World section at the mountain's summit. The Flower Dome provides a much drier environment for a number of temperate plant species from around the world. Many originate in North America, Europe and Australasia so they may be more familiar than the plants on display elsewhere in the park.

As the quintessential hi-tech Asian city with a mixture of Malaysian, Chinese and Indian influences, Singapore is a fascinating place to explore for a few days. Although Marina Bay is just one small corner of the city, it has some of the most creative innovations and the best examples of futuristic construction and design. Whether your interests lie in art, architecture, nature, shopping or eating, you will definitely find something to inspire you at Marina Bay.

Merlion sculpture at Marina Bay, Singapore


How to Get to Marina Bay

Bayfront MRT Station is next to Marina Bay Sands and is also convenient for the ArtScience Centre and Gardens by the Bay.

Raffles Place Interchange MRT Station is closest to the Merlion.

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